Auckland’s Rodney Mills has come close to winning a national title in the past, but today was the day he finished top of the podium.
He played Mark Ridley in the semi final, who looked to have it sewn up with the score favouring him 12-9 on the last end. However, Ridley’s last bowl didn’t go to plan; leaving Rodney sitting with three shots and a bowl in hand. He took full advantage of the opportunity too, drawing a toucher to steal the maximum as well as the win.
The semi final between Hayden Warnes and Nathan Trowell also had the crowd, and no doubt the folks at home tuning in, on the edge of their seats. It was a real back and forth tussle, with the score locked 8-8 heading into the final end. Trowell held shot for the bulk of the end, but Warnes saved the best for last and sat for shot to earn his spot in the final against Mills.
It was Rodney who drew first blood, and from there he was able to hold a slight buffer over Warnes throughout the game. Warnes made his move on the ninth end when he trailed the jack to the back of the mat to hold three, but Mills responded with the perfect inside-out shot to extend his lead to 8-4. At 10-5 they shook hands, and Rodney was crowned the National Open Singles Champion for 2023.
It was great to see local representative, Ashleigh Smith, reach the quarter finals and win the Truth Cup for the woman going the furthest, and Mark Ridley, another local representative, earned the Kath and S.E.N. Smith Trophy in conjunction with his bronze medal for the senior going the furthest. Tauranga were well represented with juniors in the field, so it was no surprise to see Tauranga’s Matthew Spargo claiming the Cliff Thompson Trophy for best performing junior.
Congratulations to all of the above players for a great day of bowls.
Access the full results here: